My Irish Up: Our man in Charlotte and Miami


By Mike Corrigan

News Columnist

MIAMI/CHARLOTTE/WHATEVER — Do you know how platform planks are devised by America’s political parties?

Me either, so I thought I would make something up — which will generate a report at least as factual as your average convention speech.

To sum up: Since Democrats have no new good ideas at all, and Republicans seem to have only bad old ones, I imagine things must go like this: (Numbers have been assigned to speakers, to protect their identities, and also because I couldn’t read their name tags through the smoke (marijuana and cigarette, respectively).

10:48 a.m.: Conference Room 1012, Convention Center South, Charlotte, N.C.

1: Okay — wait, can anyone remember why we’re here? Oh yeah, the 9, um, o’clock discussion group for the resolutions for party planks will now come to order. The platform, people! Ideas?

2. I say we fight to preserve the right for cats and dogs to marry!

1. They can do that now?

General discord, a few discrete giggles. Someone hugs a tree.

2. They can’t? Okay, let’s work to keep it illegal, then. It’s just immoral, really. If I’m allowed to say that.

1. Good, there’s one thing… But I don’t know how it will go over with our constituents at the animal shelter, an important voting bloc in my district. Any other ideas? No? Nothing? …Okay, let’s break for some heavy drinking.

1 p.m.: Conference Room 1012, Convention Center South, Charlotte, N.C.

2: The chairman is “indisposed,” I’m supposed to say. Now, all of the brainstorming groups have been charged with coming up with at least three suggested planks in the platform by 4 p.m. today, or members will be liberally insulted with ethnic slurs. We’re that serious about progress, people. You’ve had plenty of time to think. What do you have for me? …Nothing? I can wait…

3:07 p.m., Conference Room 1012, Convention Center West, Charlotte, N.C.

3. Hey, I propose that we try to re-elect the President. Is that in there?

2. Probably. I’ll write it down, just in case.

3:46 p.m., Ibid.

4. Is it Tuesday?

2. Why do you ask?

4. I forget. Does it matter?

Well, not very exciting, but everything progresses slowly in Democratic governmental circles. Which is anywhere within four thousand miles of Washington, D.C., and anywhere south of the Planet Jupiter. Or is it Saturn? Which one’s got the rings? — that would be the Republican one. Except on business trips.

Anyway, on to Miami, where the action is much more intense, as you well might imagine. Because the current leaders of the Republican party are nothing if not intense. There’s not much going on in their brains (sic), either — but they’re just so intense about not having a clue about anything, except for their considered position that, under no circumstances, without exception, even fighting two, billion-dollar-a-day wars at once, even in the event of nuclear war, even if there’s no money left in the Treasury because Congress gave it all back to the rich, may a real Republican vote to raise taxes. Ever! Ever, ever, ever! Do you hear me? Never!

Okay, calm down. Wow, these talking points really get the juices flowing, don’t they! Where were we?

5:54 a.m., Suite 314, Convention Center South, Miami, Fla.

1. Well, its 6 a.m. by my watch, so let’s get cracking. We’ve got a lot to figure out. America is broke, Social Security’s a mess, we’re only at war with one country now, officially, and everyone’s on welfare except us decent, hard-working Americans making over $250,000 a year — plus America’s moral fiber is going to hell in a hand basket, as usual.

2. But, America isn’t really broke

1. Somebody shoot this socialist. (Heretic is dragged off, whimpering. Gunshot.) Thank you, sergeant-at-arms. Now, seeing no further objections to my view of the world, how do we get this foreign-born Commie out of the White House? What are his weak points? We’ll just say the opposite. That ought to work.

3. As far as anyone can tell, the man has no “points” of any kind, strong or weak. He’s just sort of there, trying to “compromise” with us, when we aren’t paying any attention to him at all! It's kind of annoying, really.

1. Yes, I see. That does make it tough to counter his “positions.” Well, let’s just say he has taken some ridiculous policy stance or another. Who’s going to know? And then we blame everything that’s ever happened on him — for not keeping his promises! Genius! Any other ideas?

Huge babble of voices. Shouts, screams, cries of “Hey, some terrorist just punched me in the knee!” Gunplay. Ambulance sirens. “Battle Hymn of the Republic” on bagpipes. Voiceover recitation of the U.S. Constitution.

1. (Pounding gavel) One at a time! Mercy! You there, with the red tie and briefcase. No, the other one. No, you. Yes, you. Go.

3. Stop abortion at the wellhead. We should ban all sex. It’s in the Bible.

4. No, that won’t play in Peoria, we should just blame… all bad sex on Obama!

1. Oh, that’s a good one. Blame… all… bad… sex… on… Obama…. (chortles) Man gives me a headache, too! Next!

5. What’s with these foreigners in America, not speaking English?

1. What do you mean, teenagers?

5. Foreigners, I said. People who don’t look like us.

1. Okay, in case there are any more of them out there, let’s make English the official language of the United States of America. And the National Football League. I can never understand what that John Madden guy is saying.

94. He retired a couple of years ago.

1. See what I mean?

617. Did you say foreign people? I met a Hawaiian once. He had a nice shirt.

1. Sergeant-at-Arms...

After a long career as a staff writer at The Bridgton News, Mike retired to write poetry and live in the big city — Lewiston.

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